I’ve had a lot of gyros in my life, back before I was vegan and pretty much every vegan version imaginable since, and these soy curl gyros are the absolute best there is. They’re perfect, truly truly perfect. And while they taste every bit as good (and then some) as the traditional gyros you know and love, they’re incomparably healthier, more affordable (about $2 per gyro) and super quick to make.
I think soy curls are the future of vegan food that vegans actually want. We want healthy, sustainable and also incredibly affordable convenience products, yet all the attention goes to products like Beyond and Impossible (which are great, but are expensive and junk food) because they’re huge publicly traded companies with infinite advertising funds. Soy curls fill that role perfectly. They’re a single ingredient, whole food (meaning they contain every part of the soy bean), are just 50 cents per serving and contain lots of protein, fiber, iron and potassium. They absorb flavor so well and take no time at all to turn into such incredibly delicious food, but since they’re a small, family owned company that doesn’t advertise, most people will never know they exist. I have two other recipes featuring soy curls (Soy Curl Shawarma Wrap and White Bean Chili with Soy Curls) and plans to post a few more in the future that are staples in our house. I buy mine in bulk directly from Butler’s website or at the Riverwest Co-Op up the street from my house, but they’re also available, and more expensive, on Amazon. If you’re buying them for your first time – buy as many bags as you can, I guarantee you will love them and wish you had bought more!
*also pictured here is cultured feta made from tofu (the best option for fresh eating like this!) and cucumberless tzatziki (I pretty much refuse to eat out of season, soulless, waxy cucumbers, so my tzatziki is cucumberless until summer and so much better this way)
Soy Curl Gyros with Vegan Tzatziki
makes 4 gyros
8 oz bag of soy curls
3 cloves of garlic, minced very fine or grated
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp italian seasoing (or 2 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried marjoram, 1 tsp dried sage, 1 tsp dried rosemary, 1 tsp dried thyme)
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup vegan broth (vegetable, chicken or beef all work great. I use better than bouillon brand)
2 tbsp lemon juice (fresh squeezed or high quality bottles only, no true lemon!)
3-6 tbsp olive oil (to taste. if you’re an omnivore used to eating meat, you could use 3 tbsp of oil PER GYRO, or 3/4 cup total, to be the same fat content as a traditional gyro. I use 3 tbsp total)
1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
salt to taste
optional – I use 1 tsp of all purpose greek seasoning because I have it but wouldn’t go out of my way for it necessarily)
sliced onions for topping
vegan tzatziki (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 400
In a large bowl, soak the soy curls in hot water. Let them sit ~10 minutes. In a smaller bowl, whisk together all the spices, oil, garlic, vegan chicken broth, lemon juice and soy sauce. Once hydrated, strain and squeeze the moisture out of the soy curls (I sometimes rinse them until the water I squeeze from them is clear), then return them to the bowl and add the sauce. Stir until well incorporated (I use my hands and really squeeze/massage the sauce into the soy curls), then add them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. You don’t want them too cooked or crispy, they should be just warmed through, still tender and very juicy. Divide over 4 pitas along with onions and tzatziki.
All components store well separately in the fridge, reheat soy curls in a skillet with a splash of oil and a lid.
makes about 1/2 cup, perfect for 4 gyros
1/2 cup plain vegan yogurt (I use homemade soy/coconut)
1-2 tbsp lemon juice (to taste, depends on how tangy your yogurt is)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 tbsp dried dill (or 1 tbsp fresh)
salt to taste
*when in season, I add 1/4 cup grated and squeezed cucumber. obviously it’s very traditional in tzatziki, so add if desired any time of year though, not surprisingly, traditional or no, it’s much better without crappy grocery store cucumbers
Whisk all the ingredients together. Best if made a few hours before use to allow the flavors to come together.